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5 Ways to Decolonize Juneteenth by Getting Outdoors

Why is Juneteenth celebrated?

The United States of America became “the land of the free” July 4th, 1776 as it gained its independence from Britain that day. But enslaved Black people on US soil weren’t declared free until almost a century later in 1863 when the Emancipation Proclamation was signed.

Good news travels slowly because African Americans in Texas didn’t learn about their freed status until two years later on June 19th 1865 resulting in wide-spread celebrations and coining the 19th as “Juneteenth holiday” and Black Americans have celebrated this day as our Independence Day since then.

Just last year, the day was recognized as a federal holiday on June 17, 2021, when President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law.

We reclaimed what was ours centuries ago only for it to be encroached upon as large companies try to capitalize on the holiday by selling “Juneteenth-themed products”.

This wouldn’t be a problem if these moves actually honored African Americans or positively impacted our lives and progress in society. But they are not. They’re made solely for the profit of these large, non-Black-owned corporations that could have EASILY directed consumers to shop the black-owned products they carry in their stores; which would actually go further to recognize the descendants of the people they claim to want to recognize.

Anyway, chile…it is important that we strongly reject these offensive commercialization efforts to recolonize and steal away the true meaning of Juneteenth. Our freedom isn’t a marketing strategy. Our emancipation isn’t a sell-out ticket. We are refocusing our energy on where it needs to be: Us.

And what better place to have a black celebration than the outdoors!

5 Ways to Get Outdoors for Juneteenth.

1. Frolicking: Juneteenth is a day of freedom. Nothing expresses freedom better than activating your inner child while having untethered fun outside! You get to be absolutely free, to take up space, and experience heartwarming nostalgia and joy as you’re taken back to your childhood years for a day.

2. Camping: There’s a secret that lies in nature which you can only discover when you go camping. A camp-out is the perfect bonding scene for you and your besties and given our nation's history with segregated national parks; this is a great opportunity to further honor freedom to venture into nature while learning and develop new skills, and the perfect getaway to unplug and de-stress.

3. Picnicking: What’s a celebration without a feast? With Outdoor Besties, many of our gatherings involve nourishing our bodies with food. And then nourishing our spirits by being a community with each other, catching up, laughing, gossiping, hugging, and so much more.

4. Walking: Taking care of yourself this Juneteenth is important. An easy and low-impact physical activity like taking a walk outdoors can have high-impact benefits on both your physical and mental health. It’s actually one of my favorites and the early beginnings of Outdoor Besties.

5. Lounging: Lounging means you have free time to just be FREE and rest which that is the ultimate flex for people whose ancestors worked sun up to sundown for no pay. If making plans and organizing a celebration, isn’t your thing or wears you just thinking about; lounging is more than enough. Not only do you deserve rest, but resting honors those who came before us but never had the privilege to do so.

About Outdoor Besties:

Outdoor Besties works to maximize opportunities for BIPOC to make money, be healthier & connect in meaningful ways via outdoor activity. Outdoor Besties specifically caters to women of color as that demographic is where we see the most inequity across health, wellness and outdoor recreation; that said we welcome co-conspirators and allies to pull up too!

For more information about the work that we do for the good of you, go through our website, and let's be besties on Instagram page.

Also, consider donating to our ifundwomen crowdfunding campaign here - we appreciate it more than we can type.

Happy Juneteenth!

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